Question About Virginia Tobacco

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donatello

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Oct 28, 2013
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missouri
Hello everyone, I'm a pretty new pipe smoker and have a question: I am not getting any taste from Virginia tobaccos I have tried best brown,dunhill flake and full virginia flake I really only get a hot smoke taste, I'm wondering if anyone else has had that problem? Latakia tobaccos seem to be the only ones that I really taste, I have a friend that smokes virginias and he talks about them being the greatest tobaccos but I just can't seem to figure them out has anyone else had a problem getting taste from virginia flakes?
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petes03

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Jun 23, 2013
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Virginias need to be sipped slowly, and they need to sit for a while after you pop the tin. Also, try letting some smoke through your nose.

 

judcole

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Sep 14, 2011
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It sounds to me like you are doing typical new pipe smoker stuff with Virginias. The flavors are subtle. You are used to the big bold flavors of the lat blends. To try to get those flavors, you smoke too fast. (You may also be having prep problems with your flakes, but that's another issue.)

Slow down. Take your time. There's no rush. Prepare yourself for subtle flavors and nuance. Good luck. :puffy:

 

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swampmouth

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Oct 4, 2013
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What's been said yep. I would say you have a virgin tongue. Go ahead with the big flavor. There's plenty of time for culture later. Virginias' also play a big role in many lat blends. Tune into that.

 

petes03

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Jun 23, 2013
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Yes, I use the fold n' stuff method for all of my "whole" flakes and coins. With broken flakes, I might load them as is, or run them out slightly.

As for drying it depends, if it looks and feels dry enough from the tin I'll just load up and smoke. If it appears moist then it's too wet, if it feels moist it's definitely too wet. Use your own judgement to determine the level of moisture you prefer. Keep in mind, if you dry it too long it can change the flavor of the tobacco quite a bit.

 

rmbittner

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Dec 12, 2012
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I don't typically dry out my tobaccos; maybe let a tin sit in the open air for a couple of hours, at most.
I rub out all of my flakes, whenever possible, and then pack normally.
But I'll echo what everyone else has said about smoking slowly. No tobacco was made to smoke better when smoked faster; all of them will benefit from slow smoking. And VAs, especially, only show their true colors when smoked as slowly as possible.
I think we need to go back in time and give a smack upside the head to whoever it was who coined the phrase "to puff a pipe." I think that one idea -- that you should be puffing on a pipe -- has done more damage to beginning pipe smokers than all the drugstore cherry blends combined.
Bob

 

donatello

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Oct 28, 2013
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missouri
Did any of you guys that smoke Virginia flake have any problems tasting it when you first started smoking? Do you guys think a new smoker should not smoke Virginia flake tobacco until they have more experience?

 

ravkesef

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Aug 10, 2010
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Cheshire, CT
I'm another one of these who have never gotten into the hang of Virginias. I've been smoking mostly Latakia blends for the last 50 years or so, and every time I try a Virginia, the thought I have is "this tastes like cigarettes." Anybody else get that same feeling?

 

yaddy306

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Aug 7, 2013
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Regina, Canada
I think we need to go back in time and give a smack upside the head to whoever it was who coined the phrase "to puff a pipe." I think that one idea -- that you should be puffing on a pipe -- has done more damage to beginning pipe smokers than all the drugstore cherry blends combined.
I totally agree, Bob! Some of the lesser pipe forums out there continue to perpetuate this idea (puff dot com?)

Going from the casual cigar to pipes became a lot easier for me when I began to internalize the idea of gentle sips. Big puffs raise the temperature and destroy the flavour.

 

yaddy306

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Aug 7, 2013
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Regina, Canada
every time I try a Virginia, the thought I have is "this tastes like cigarettes." Anybody else get that same feeling?
Eric, I'm a relatively new pipe smoker, but I find that the room note of Virginias can be pretty "cigarette-like".

 

rmbittner

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Dec 12, 2012
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BTW, you have tried three of the very best flakes on the market. Most "beginners" don't get around to flakes for quite a while -- if ever. But it's kind of like trying to learn a new subject by jumping straight into the 400-level courses. There's a lot to be said for taking "Virginias 101" first.
I'd suggest starting with a high-quality Virginia such as Rattray's Old Gowrie and McClelland Matured Virginia #27. Old Gowrie is a bit more forgiving of being smoked too fast; the #27 will tell you to slow down. If you find flakes, just rub them out completely and pack them normally; at this point, you don't need one more variable or stumbling block in your way.
After these two blends, I'd suggest moving on to Butera's Royal Vintage: Dark Stoved, to explore a different way of handling Virginias. This is a flake, but it's very easy to rub out. And dark-stoved VA are especially rewarding of slow smoking; in my experience, they're the sweetest. most flavorful VA blends out there.
After this, I think it would be great to revisit the SG Full Virginia Flake, and see what you think. I believe you'll be surprised at the difference a little experience and education can make in your ability to appreciate this one.
Bob

 

swampmouth

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Oct 4, 2013
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Jeez Bob you have a very cultured tongue. The other thing is that the "flavors" are more subtle, subdued, sublime, see the pattern. 20 years ago I was the same way. I kept with it as an occasional and WALLAH, suddenly I was there. Especially those aged McCs. Keep it up for perspective if nothing else.

 

rigmedic1

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May 29, 2011
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Try a 9mm filter pipe. I thought all Virginias were ashen and acrid until I smoked a straight Virginia through a 9mm charcoal filter. Now, I wouldn't smoke one in anything else. I don't use filter pipes for Latakia or aromatics, but for a Virginia blend, it is the hot ticket for me.

 

taerin

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May 22, 2012
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VA's need to be pretty dry and blenders like SG give them to you very wet, a wet VA gives you a hot smoke that tastes watered down for sure. They should be dry just to the point you can bend a flake without it breaking apart, but if you tap it on glass, it makes the hard, clinky sound.

 

rmbittner

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Dec 12, 2012
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"Jeez Bob you have a very cultured tongue."
I think I know what you mean. . .
If you mean the blends I'm recommending, it's just the result of having been a pipe smoker since I was 18 (and I'm 52 now), being inclined to try as many different blends as I can, working in a tobacco shop for five years, and keeping a journal about the blends I've tried. I've found I enjoy a wide variety of blends, so that may mean that I'm able to recommend a wider range of things than some folks who fall in love with a dozen or so blends or who are just looking for things they love and don't care about sampling new ones just for the sake of learning about them.
Bob

 

salewis

Senior Member
Jan 27, 2011
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I suggest that you smoke what you like. The questions regarding Virginias leads me to believe that you find nonvirginias more agreeable to your taste. You will know when it is the "right" time to give Virginias a try once again, perhaps a few years. I have smoked a pipe for 30+ years and only began smoking Virginias seven or eight years ago. Now I prefer Virginias over traditional latakia blends.
Another way to inch your way to Virginias may be to begin with a Virginia based blend with oriental minus latakia. A good blend to begin, in this category is Gawith's Sam's Blend which is Virginia and mainly Turkish tobacco. Sam's Blend comes in a flake. You may want to give a few hours to dry out a little. Tear the flakes and enjoy or not.

 

mso489

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Feb 21, 2013
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Many aromatic blends have a mostly Virginia base, and if they aren't over-flavored, you can often come to

enjoy the Virginia with a little boost of whisky, rum, vanailla, walnut, or whatever the flavoring or casing is.

 

cosmicfolklore

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Aug 9, 2013
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Outer Space
Everyone has said the most important parts. But, my ritual with Virginias is to dry them till the crunch just a bit when I rub them out, and then the only time I ever actually draw on the stem is the lighting of the pipe. I just clench the pipe and allow the smoke to come in and out as I hold it in my mouth, so it never burns too hot. I like my Virginias to smoke themself. I just kick back and enjoy them.
Yes, the flavor is subtle, very much so. But as for cigaretty tasting, it is still a quality tobacco, so it doesn't linger in my clothes or the room like a cigarette would. Plus I've found (some) others tend to enjoy the smell. As a former cigarette smoker, I never had anyone want to set next to me when I smoked a cig, but I get people who will set next to me and reminisce about people they used to know who smoked a pipe. Way cooler than smoking a cigarette, IMO.

 
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